I always like it when poetry gets compared to music and most especially when it works to emulate music.
Beat poets would write crazy poems whose meter would stop and go in a sincere effort to emulate the off-beat rhythms of jazz songs.
Poems have often been translated into songs as we saw with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Richard Cory” and Emily Dickinson’s “I Never Saw a Moor”. There were times when the line between poetry and song were indistinguishable. Take for instance, the fact that “ballad” refers both to a type of poem and song. This might be due to the fact that ballads were once all poems that were sung.
In this short poem, the musical reference is purely literal (referring to the sound of rain as the sound of a drummer’s brush), but if you read it out loud, can you hear the sound of the drummer’s brush scraping across the top of the drum? It sounds to me as if it is going swish, swish (drummer’Ss bruSH…rain huSHeSS..Ssurface) and then a bit of a rim shot (Ttin porCHeSss) bang, clang, swish.
As you say it, can you hear it? Yes? No? What do the words sound like to you?
Keep in mind the name of the poem is “Rain” and that he’s trying to capture the essence of that subject. He speaks about rain on a tin roof and when I read this, I can see him sitting at his desk, watching the the silver streams outside hissing by. And then he closes his eyes and lets his ears take over and he hears the clatter above. Perhaps it’s an army of ants scattering over head, or an audience of two thousand in rapturous applause, or small bells tinkling here and there. I think that the poem was his attempt to capture what he “saw” when he closed his eyes.
by Emanuel di Pasquale
Like a drummer’s brush,
the rain hushes the surface of tin porches.